Shade Trellis: a Study in Functional Beauty

Our client was an avid gardener, but was not able to spend extended periods of time in the sun due to health problems.  We wanted to ameliorate this situation with a trellis structure that would add beauty to the home’s facade, as well as needed shade.

Vision

Trellis structures are something you often seen in the backyards and patios of homes, but since our client wanted to garden in a front yard with a southwest exposure, we wanted to not only provide protection from the sun, but also enhance the appearance of the home — striking a balance between the functional and the esthetic.

Challenge

Since the shade trellis was to be a structural addition to the front setback of the home, the first challenge we faced was obtaining a variance — which meant the completion of an extensive Building Department and neighborhood review.  This was a long process, but we were finally able to get approval and move ahead with construction just before summer.  To be sure the structure would provide adequate protection from the sun, we did extensive 3D modeling that allowed us to study the shading as the day progressed.

Accomplishment

In addition to constructing the shade trellis according to our 3D models, we raised up the entry to the home and re-poured the sidewalk.  As the “before” and “after” photos in this case study demonstrate, the completed structure matched our 3D rendering perfectly — both in form and function.

Highlights

The structure was stained prior to installation – a one coat process with our favorite dark exterior stain. Structures like this appear to be relatively easy, but they do require an enormous amount of upfront effort during the design phase to work out all the details.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…if not a tube of sunscreen.